Writing for non-specialists and students as well as for fellow philosophers, this book explores some basic issues surrounding sex and love in today's world, among them consent, objectification, non-monogamy, racial stereotyping, and the need to reconcile contemporary expectations about gender equality with our beliefs about how love works. Author Patricia Marino argues that we cannot fully understand these issues by focusing only on individual desires and choices. Instead, we need to examine the social contexts within which choices are made and acquire their meanings. That perspective, she argues, is especially needed today, when the values of individualism, self-expression, and self-interest permeate our lives. Marino asks how we can fit these values, which govern so many areas of contemporary life, with the generosity, caring, and selflessness we expect in love and sex.
Key Features of Philosophy of Sex and Love: An Opinionated Introduction
- Offers a contemporary, problems-based approach to the subject, helping readers better understand and address current issues and controversial questions
- Includes coverage of sex and love as they intersect with topics like disability, race, medicine, and economics
- Considers not only the ethical, but also the broadly social and political dimensions of sex and love
- Includes a helpful introduction and conclusion in each chapter and is written throughout in a clear and straightforward style, with examples and signposts to help guide the student and general reader
- A comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography provides a valuable tool for anyone’s further research
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Sex, respect, and objectification
Sex as inherently objectifying: the view of Immanuel Kant
Feminist theories of objectification
Nussbaum on the varying aspects of objectification
Challenges for Nussbaum's theory
Chapter 2: Objectification, autonomy, and pornography
Objectification and social autonomy
Social autonomy and adaptive preferences
A social perspective on pornography
The "pornutopia" and pornography's falsity
Beyond the heterosexual context
Chapter 3: Consent and rape law
A short history of the law of consent
"'No' means no"
Communicative sexuality and nonverbal consent
The Antioch Policy and verbal consent
Affirmative consent, sexual autonomy, and the law
Chapter 4 Sex work
Sex work and the law
Sex work as a free contractual exchange
Sex work, commodification, and the specialness of sex
Commercialized sex in context
Chapter 5: Union theories of love
Why a theory of love?
The union theory and its difficulties
The relationship of self and "we"
The "we" as a merger of ends and desires
Love and irrationality
Chapter 6: Concern theories of love
Love as caring concern
Disinterestedness and reciprocity
Love and autonomy in the union and concern theories
Love, autonomy, and deference
Love and rationality revisited: appraisal and bestowal
Limitless care and the problem of paternalism
Chapter 7: Love, fairness, and equality
Union theories and balancing
Concern theories and deliberation
Equality and fairness
Why a theory of love, revisited
Chapter 8: Orientations of sex and love
Concepts, terminology, and history
The "born that way" and "not a choice" arguments: conceptual complexities
The "born that way" and "not a choice" arguments: ethical and political complexities
Orientations and values of sex and love
Chapter 9: Love and marriage
The nature of marriage
Is marriage a promise?
Gender and the institution of marriage
Is marriage bad for love?
Chapter 10: Sex, love, and race
Race in cultural context
Some problems with racialized preferences
Further evaluation: causes and consequences of racialized preferences
Marriage and racial solidarity
Chapter 11: Sex, love, and disability
Disability in context
Physical disabilities and sexual surrogacy
Surrogacy, intimacy, and love
Intellectual disabilities and complexities of consent
Chapter 12: The medicalization of sex and love
Medicalization and the "Viagra narrative"
The social control of women's sexuality
Recent scientific study of women's sexuality
Nonconcordance and the interpretation of desire
Lack of desire and eagerness versus enjoying
Medicalization of love?
Chapter 13: The economics of sex and love
Economics and love: what is the problem?
Altruism and the possibility of "self-interested" love
Economics and sex
Sex, love, and economic methodology
Chapter 14. Ethical nonmonogamy
What is ethical nonmonogamy?
The values of ethical nonmonogamy
The "paradox of prevalence" and changing the law
Challenges for ethical nonmonogamy
Patricia Marino is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo in Canada, where, in addition to philosophy of sex and love, she works in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of economics. She served as co-president of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love from 2008 to 2018, and is the author of Moral Reasoning in a Pluralistic World (2015).
"[This] is an exceptional book for any instructor who is looking for a rare, ‘opinionated’ introductory text in the philosophy of sex and love that is not an anthology.
What is particularly valuable about this book is that it doesn’t merely talk about thinkers who do philosophy, but shows firsthand (and importantly, in a fairly accessible way that most conventional textbooks may not) how to do philosophy. If that is the level of engagement an instructor seeks, I can think of no better textual guide to the philosophy of sex and love than this book."
Dale Murray (University of Wisconsin-Platteville) in Teaching Philosophy
"Patricia Marino's Philosophy of Love and Sex: An Opinionated Introduction is a wonderful addition to the growing literature – and indeed growing number of textbooks – in this area of philosophy, which is still only a few decades old."
Robert Scott Stewart, Ph.D., Metapsychology Online Review